“I’m a Lutheran” is a monthly profile featuring ELCA members around the world. The profiles showcase ELCA members in all their diversity, connecting one another through individual faith stories as Lutherans. Sentence prompts are provided to each person featured. If you’d like to nominate someone for “I’m a Lutheran,” email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congregation: Dallas Lutheran Church, Dallas, Wis.
Occupation: Retired elementary school teacher, piano instructor and church organist
My first experience with church was going with family, my whole family. We had a big family of six girls and two boys and two good Christian parents. We went on a sleigh and had to heat rocks to stay warm, and there was no complaining. I thought it was great!
My strong faith has always helped me. It helps especially when you’re doubting, fussing or having frustrations.
Playing music at church was a way for me to share my talents and time with God and the church. I wanted to be in church every Sunday unless I was sick. I don’t feel right if I don’t go to church on Sunday.
I pray for everybody in my family with separate petitions for each member. I pray for their choice of vocation and that they’re successful.
The best part about teaching piano was the kids. I enjoyed them a lot and they taught me a lot—especially about having patience! I’m very proud of all of my students and I kept track of many of them throughout the years. They’ve gone on to be lawyers, professors, artists and professional musicians around the world.
I believe the key to living a long life is just to behave yourself.
At age 107, something that has changed in my lifetime is, well, everything. The most important thing that has changed though is transportation. We used to travel with horse and buggy. Telephone has also changed a lot.
People are surprised at how active I am and that I still enjoy getting out and going to church, as well as visiting people and baking.
My advice to young musicians is to never give up. I once had a student who wanted to quit, but we kept working together and he kept going. And today he is teaching music in Los Angeles and plays in church.
I think the most important thing in life is your faith, if it is a good and strong faith.
I think my greatest achievement in life is my exceptionally talented daughter, and equally talented grandchildren and great-grandchildren. But my daughter, Bonnie, was my prized pupil. When she was 4 or 5 years old, she had perfect pitch. One day she said to me, “Those birds are singing in the key of G!” It was at that moment I knew she was truly special.
When I retired from the organ bench at age 100, the (then) bishop of the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin, Duane Pederson, came to our church on my last Sunday. It was just wonderful.
I’m a Lutheran because I was brought up that way from the beginning and loved it. I never want to change.